After appearing in court near Moscow earlier today, it has been determined that basketball star Brittney Griner will remain detained until May 19, 2022. This news was revealed by the state-owned news agency TASS, the same platform that uncovered her identity ahead of the New York Times breaking the initial story of her arrest.
On February 17, Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested at an airport close to Moscow after vape cartridges containing hashish oil were discovered in her luggage. Hashish oil is derived from cannabis. Griner’s story continues to gain traction internationally as Russia wages war against Ukraine.
“The court granted the petition of the investigation and extended the term of U.S. citizen Griner’s detention until May 19,” TASS quoted the court as saying.
The above clip marks the first time footage of Griner has been seen since her arrest. Her mugshot, taken in February, was the only image the public was previously privy to.
Ahead of today, prosecutors had asked that she be held for the two additional months while the investigation continues. Griner’s lawyer had asked that the basketball player be given house arrest instead.
A criminal case into the wide-reaching transport of drugs has been opened. The maximum sentence for being charged with transporting drugs is 10 years.
Tom Firestone, a former U.S. Justice Department legal resident advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, divulged to ESPN that extended detentions in Russia are not uncommon. Some extreme cases can lead to a year in jail before the trial begins.
Since the news of Griner’s arrest became public, her wife, Cherelle, has issued a public statement. “Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me regarding my wife’s safe return from Russia,” her Instagram post read. “Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated. I love my wife wholeheartedly, so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life.”
According to NPR, Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of Public Monitoring Commission, told TASS that Griner was sharing a cell with two other women.
Aside from initial remarks acknowledging Griner’s arrest and their work toward her release, Griner’s team has opted not to speak with the public at this time.